"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My new blogging venue

If all goes as planned and prayed, this will be my last post at this blog. I have launched a new blog at Wordpress called Philosophia Perennis. I shall be posting there from now on.

The new blog-in-the-making is a group blog with Catholic philosophers as the authors. Several of my friends, erstwhile colleagues, and would-be colleagues have already agreed to come on board and contribute. But as the idea for this blog originated with me, the chief responsibility for administering it has fallen to me.

I'm making the shift for three reasons. First, I don't have time to post here as often as I'd like to, and doing a group blog with like-minded friends and colleagues would enable me to intersperse the posts I can manage with those of others I trust. Second, the new blog will in due course expose my readers to a wider array of talent and personality than just my own. Finally, the focus of the new blog is likely to be more academic and less personal than this blog's, and that's exactly what I need for the sake of facilitating my eventual return to academia.

I thought it peculiarly appropriate to launch the new blog on the liturgical feast day of St. Augustine, who was a philosopher before he became a Catholic. Once he underwent his conversion, a process so eloquently documented in that classic of Western literature known as his Confessions, Augustine adopted a different set of priorities for his thought. He became a Catholic first, a theologian second, and a philosopher—well, he gradually abandoned philosophical inquiry for its own sake. He prayed, he preached, he meditated, he theologized; but philosophizing for its own sake, he came to suspect, was something only pagans did.

Some philosophers think that meant he ceased to be a philosopher; some believers think he didn't leave philosophy nearly far enough behind. On my own account as a Catholic, I'd say that I do philosophy for the sake of understanding myself, the world, even God better than I would if I didn't do philosophy. I know by long experience that studying philosophy in depth, and constructing serious philosophical arguments which do not require any divinely revealed truth as premises, is an excellent discipline even for committed believers.

That good philosophy is intrinsically valuable remains so even for those of us who believe that, in the final analysis, our response to divine revelation and grace, as manifest in how we are thereby transformed as persons, is far more important than philosophy as an academic discipline. Divine revelation is for everybody, after all—as is philosophy in the original sense of the Greek term, which means "love of wisdom." Everybody who comes to love God and neighbor comes to love wisdom too. But philosophizing in a systematic way is for the (relatively) few. I think most of my contributors at the new blog would agree with that. Of course they would have qualifications to add, and probably wouldn't say it the way I have, but that's a philosopher for you. We wouldn't have it any other way.

It's been a great three-year run, and I am grateful to all of you for making this blog as useful and interesting as it's been. See you all over there. Thanks especially to Jesus Christ, my Alpha and Omega, for heeding his Mother's intercession on my behalf.
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